Orillia's unique shipping container housing units are almost move-in ready

Northern Shield Development repurposed shipping containers into an apartment complex in Orillia, Ont. - Fri., Oct. 23, 2020 (Steve Mansbridge/CTV News)

A shortage of affordable housing is a critical issue many municipalities face, but an innovative housing project in Orillia hopes to curb the problem.

Northern Shield Development Corp. (NSDC) came up with a unique concept to repurpose shipping containers into homes, and construction is nearly complete.

"You really can't tell this was actually constructed using containers," says Northern Shield president Steve Marshall.

The series of 12' by 40' steel-frame containers were turned into 27 affordable apartment units, something Chris Small says is necessary.

"The need is unbearable," Small, the owner of the Village Inn, says. "There is no real middle-row apartments, there's lower-end apartments, and there's higher-end apartments, but there's none for the working class."

Marshall says the transformed shipping containers look nothing like what you might imagine.

"When people see developments like this, they start to realize that the reality of containers, they're just another module or way to build something so that they just blend in," he says.

Small says the demand was immediate. "We put an ad on Kijiji, and within 12 hours, we had 1,500 views."

NSDC plans to have the first phase of units move-in ready by the first of November, with the second phase expected to be done the following month.

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